Friday, May 29, 2009
Staged photos lifted from porn websites purporting to be images of U.S. troops raping female detainees at Abu Ghraib are again circulating at the height of the torture scandal, discrediting the very real and admitted accounts of rape described in Major General Antonio Taguba’s military report into the Abu Ghraib prison.
Despite the fact that these photos were vehemently discredited and proven to be taken from porn websites when they first emerged in 2004, they are again being erroneously cited as examples of photos showing rape that the Obama administration is blocking from public release – providing debunkers with ammunition to dismiss the validity of the torture scandal altogether.
In light of the Pentagon and the White House’s bizarre efforts to deny the reality of their own internal investigation and pull a crude bait and switch yesterday in claiming that the blocked photos do not show rape, it can only be assumed that these fake photos are again being pushed as a means of discrediting the proven instances of U.S. prison guards and others raping women and children at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities.
“New photos obtained by Press TV have revealed alleged sexual harassment and rape of Iraqi prisoners at US-run Abu Ghraib detention center by American soldiers. The alleged pictures illustrate American soldiers raping and sexually harassing Iraqi detainees,” states the report.
However, the photos do not illustrate American soldiers at all, the uniforms worn by the men in the images are clearly not those worn by U.S. troops in Iraq, they are cheap military fatigues that anyone could find at Wal-Mart or any other discount clothing store.
Furthermore, it was admitted five years ago that the photos were taken from porn websites after they were first published by the Boston Globe.
“Graphic photos appearing on Arabic websites of U.S. servicemen raping and sexually abusing Iraqi women were actually taken from American and Hungarian pornography sites,” reported World Net Daily.
The photos, which were published under the headline “The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos,” by a Tunisian website, were lifted from an American porn website called “Babes in Iraq,” as well as a Hungarian porn website called “Sex in War.”
The websites were registered under the HotSpotCity.com domain, which hosts “cheap unrestricted adult XXX porn websites” and is a subsidiary of MacNew Enterprises. Owner Linda MacNew told World Net Daily that the photos had originated from the porn websites and they were subsequently shut down.
The Boston Globe later had to apologize for publishing the fake photos.
The fact that the photos are being cited as proof of rape at Abu Ghraib when they are clearly lifted from amateur porn websites, a point that was confirmed no less than five years ago, makes it highly suspicious that these images are again circulating as the torture scandal reaches new heights and threatens to embroil top Democrats, who are complicit because they gave their approval for the Bush torture program in the first place.
It seems that every time the torture scandal escalates, fake images, video and testimony is released to poison the well and convince the public that the whole issue is a hoax.
In May 2006, a video emerged in which a self-proclaimed Army Ranger called Jesse MacBeth claimed that his unit was told to kill Iraqi men, their wives and children indiscriminately if they didn’t explicitly follow orders. The video became wildly popular on the Internet but soon turned out to be a hoax, there was no record of MacBeth being an Army Ranger.
As soon as the video was declared a hoax, neo-cons like Michelle Malkin jumped on the issue to claim that accounts of Iraqis being indiscriminately killed were all fraudulent, despite the fact that a BBC News interview with soldiers who had served in Iraq, in which the troops admitted to witnessing war crimes, proved the allegations of indiscriminate murder to be true.
Similarly, at the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal in May 2004, the London Mirror published photos of British soldiers allegedly urinating on detainees in Iraq. The images were later proven to be fraudulent and the hoax was exploited by the corporate media and the government to discredit other proven cases of torture and abuse carried out by British soldiers in Iraq.
We see the same pattern over and over again – every time the torture scandal escalates, fake images are released to poison the well and dampen outrage about the very real torture and sexual abuse of women and children that is documented in the U.S. military’s own internal report into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
The fact that Press TV and the individual quoted in the article have fallen for this simplistic propaganda yet again is beyond belief. It’s a case of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.’ We have alerted them to the hoax and hope to see the story removed as soon as possible before people like Michelle Malkin cite it as proof that the very real rape scandal is non-existent.